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FICTION:
“She and He” by Tiki Smith

Snow crunched under their boots as they walked. She brought her hands up to her face, breathing
into them. Her breath came out steamy and did little to ease the burning cold of her hands. They were
frozen like ice cubes and red as cherries. She rubbed them together in an attempt to warm them, but it did
nothing.
“Here.”
She looked to her left for the source of the voice, even though she’d known who it was without
doing so. She knew that voice though she had not heard it spoken directly to her in a long time, only hints
and words every now and again when she passed.
His blond hair glinted in the sun, and there were snowflakes on his jacket that melted and dripped
down it like raindrops as he walked beside her. His eyes did not meet hers when she looked at him but
stayed staring ahead. In his outstretched hand were the pair of black knitted gloves that he had been
wearing only moments before.
“What about you?” she asked.
He simply shrugged and continued to hold out the gloves. She took them and slipped them on.
They were soft and still warm from his hands. She wrung her hands together to obtain some of that
warmth.
The sun gleamed bright on a white world. The trees were bare of leaves and their branches looked
like thin black fingers, reaching out to brush the arms of passersby. The houses looked like a postcard
with snow covered roofs and yards. Some even had icicles hanging from the eves. It was pleasantly
surprising weather for Seattle. She tilted her head back and closed her eyes, breathing in the cold
afternoon air. She opened her eyes as she let her breath out, steam coming from her lips. The tops of the
trees were bathed in sunlight more than the rest of the world and the snow on the top branches seemed to
glow. As she lowered her eyes back to the sidewalk, the snow seemed to be a pale gray rather than white
compared to the high branches where only the free birds could truly see the beauty.
They walked along, she and he, snow crunching under their feet. Snow began to fall in soft
flurries. She turned her face upwards again, a faint smile alighting on her lips. She put her hand out to
catch the snow that flitted like feathers, from the sky down to Earth. After a second, a single snowflake
landed on the black glove. It sat for a moment, then slowly melted, and fell to the ground like a tear. She
felt him looking at her and turned toward him and, for a moment, their eyes met.
It had been a while since she had seen those eyes on hers. They were gray blue and seemed
almost soft, as if a blanket covered them, hiding that which he did not wish for others to see. Those eyes
carried many memories, some of which she knew, some she did not.
It only lasted a moment, then they flicked away, like the snowflake that had melted away on her
gloved hand. She let her eyes fall to the ground beneath her feet. When the corner came onto which she
turned and he didn’t, they began to walk their separate ways. Then, she remembered.
“Wait!” She called out to him. “Your gloves,” she began to pull them off, the cold seeping back
into her hands.
“Keep them.” He paused as he said it but did not turn to look at her as he spoke.

“What?”
“Keep them, give them back the next time I see you.”
She paused, surprised, then said, “Alright.” She pulled them back on, “thank you.” She began to
walk down the sidewalk toward her house.
“Hey.”
She paused and turned back toward him. He was looking over his shoulder, the sun hitting his
hair, so it glowed like the snow around them. He did not look extremely cute, nor did he look extremely
ugly. He was himself, and for her, that was enough.
“Yes?” She asked him.
“Have good break, okay?”
She smiled, and it felt good to do so.
“Okay.” She said.
He smiled back, and it was soft and the most real smile she had ever seen from him. The first
smile that reached his eyes. She had never seen this side of him, not even with his friends. There had been
hints of it but now it sprung forth, in a burst of emotion which she had not thought possible of him. She
found she liked this smile very much.
They stood there for a moment, she and he, and then he nodded to her and turned and walked
along toward his house. She stood a second longer, savoring the moment, and then turned and walked
towards her house. And the snow crunched under their boots as they walked

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